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Where mingle, as for mockery combined, 10
Things in their very essences at strife,
Shows not a sight incongruous as the extremes
That everywhere, before the thoughtful mind,
Meet on the solid ground of waking life.1

XVIII.

AT VALLOMBROSA.

Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks
In Vallombrosa, where Etrurian shades
High over-arch'd embower.2

Paradise Lost.

""vallombrosa—I longed in thy shadiest wood To slumber, reclined on the moss-covered

floor!" Fond wish that was granted at last, and the

Flood, That lulled me asleep, bids me listen once more. Its murmur how soft! as it falls down the steep, Near that Cell—yon sequestered Retreat high

in air— 6

Where our Milton was wont lonely vigils to keep For converse with God, sought through study

and prayer.

The Monks still repeat the tradition with pride, And its truth who shall doubt? for his Spirit

is here; 10

In the cloud-piercing rocks doth her grandeur

abide, In the pines pointing heavenward her beauty

austere;

1 See Note.

2 See for the two first lines, "Stanzas composed in the Simplon Pass."

In the flwwer-besprent meadows his genius we

trace Turned to humbler delights, in which youth

might confide, That would yield him fit help while prefiguring

that Place 15

Where, if Sin had not entered, Love never had

died.

When with life lengthened out came a desolate

time, And darkness and danger had compassed him

round, With a thought he would flee to these haunts

of his prime, 19

And here once again a kind shelter be found.
And let me believe that when nightly the Muse
Did waft him to Sion, the glorified hill.
Here also, on some favoured height, he would

choose
To wander, and drink inspiration at wil1.

Vallombrosa! of thee I first heard in the page Of that holiest of Bards, and the name for my

mind 26

Had a musical charm, which the winter of age And the changes it brings had no power to

unbind. And now, ye Miltonian shades! under you I repose, nor am forced from sweet fancy to

part, 30

While your leaves I behold and the brooks they

will strew, And the realised vision is clasped to my heart.

Even so, and unblamed, we rejoice as we may In Forms that must perish, frail objects of sense; TTnblamed—if the Soul be intent on the day 35 When the Being of Beings shall summon her

hence. For he and he only with wisdom is blest Who, gathering true pleasures wherever they

grow, Looks up in all places, for joy or for rest, To the Fountain whence Time and Eternity

flow. 40

XIX.

AT FLORENCE.

Under the shadow of a stately Pile,

The dome of Florence, pensive and alone,

Nor giving heed to aught that passed the while,

I stood, and gazed upon a marble stone,

The laurelled Dante's favourite seat. A throne,

In just esteem, it rivals; though no style 6

Be there of decoration to beguile

The mind, depressed by thought of greatness

flown. As a true man, who long had served the lyre, I gazed with earnestness, and dared no more. But in his breast the mighty Poet bore 11

A Patriot's heart, warm with undying fire. Bold with the thought, in reverence I sate down, And, for a moment, filled that empty Throne.

BEFORE THE PICTURE OF THE BAPTIST, BY RAPHAEL, IN THE GALLERY AT FLORENCE.

The Baptist might have been ordained to cry Forth from the towers of that huge Pile, wherein

His Father served Jehovah; but how win

Due audience, how for aught but scorn defy

The obstinate pride and wanton revelry 5

Of the Jerusalem below, her sin

And folly, if they with united din

Drown not at once mandate and prophecy?

Therefore the Voice spake from the Desert,

thence To Her, as to her opposite in peace, 10

Silence, and holiness, and innocence,
To Her and to all Lands its warning sent,
Crying with earnestness that might not cease,
"Make straight a highway for the Lord—

repent!"

XXI.

AT FLORENCE.—FEOM MICHAEL ANGELO.

Rapt above earth by power of one fair face,
Hers in whose sway alone my heart delights,
I mingle with the blest on those pure heights
Where Man, yet mortal, rarely finds a place.
With Him who made the Work that Work

accords 5

So well, that by its help and through his grace I raise my thoughts, inform my deeds and

words, Clasping her beauty in my soul's embrace. Thus, if from two fair eyes mine cannot turn, I feel how in their presence doth abide 10

Light which to God is both the way and

guide; And, kindling at their lustre, if I burn, My noble fire emits the joyful ray That through the realms of glory shines for

aye.

AT FLORENCE.—FROM MICHAEL ANGELO.

Eternal Lord! eased of a cumbrous load,
And loosened from the world, I turn to Thee,
Shun, like a shattered bark, the storm, and flee
To Thy protection for a safe abode.
The crown of thorns, hands pierced upon the
tree, 5

The meek, benign, and lacerated face,
To a sincere repentance promise grace,
To the sad soul give hope of pardon free.
With justice mark not Thou, 0 Light divine,
My fault, nor hear it with Thy sacred ear; io
Neither put forth that way Thy arm severe;
Wash with Thy blood my sins; thereto incline
More readily the more my years require
Help, and forgiveness speedy and entire.

XXIII.

AMONG THE RUINS OF A CONVENT IN THE
APENNINES.

Ye Trees! whose slender roots entwine

Altars that piety neglects;
Whose infant arms enclasp the shrine

Which no devotion now respects;
If not a straggler from the herd
Here ruminate, nor shrouded bird,
Chanting her low-voiced hymn, take pride
In aught that ye would grace or hide—
How sadly is your love misplaced,
Fair Trees, your bounty run to waste!
Ye, too, wild Flowers! that no one heeds,
And ye—full often spurned as weeds—
In beauty clothed, or breathing sweetness

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